"Children Having Children: Race, Innocence, and Sexuality Education"
The debate and need for sexual education is stated in Field's text, "School-based sexual education is a response to the problem of young people engaging in corrupting and damaging sexual activity. With out intervention of sex ed. Adolescents lead to teen pregnancies, ill-prepared mothers, and life threatening STD's." (Fields, 560) Jessica Fields researched a sexual education debate in Southern County, North Carolina. Southern County is a liberal section in a Bible belt state. The main debate was over instilling abstinence-only education or abstinence-plus, which adds in protective measures in sexual behavior like condoms and contraception use. Fields focuses on race's role in sexual education and sees a huge discrepancy between poverty rates and pregnancies between the two races. In Southern County 21.1% of African-Americans fall below poverty line and only 3.1% of whites fall under the same line. She also discovers through research that most Euro-American families "protect" their children from this poverty and send their kids to private schools. Further more, majority of students in this district are African-American low income students but in turn are be governed by upper class Euro-Americans. The debate surrounds the idea of childhood innocence that children only know what they are taught. Do you just teach abstinence or add to it tools to tackle this sexualized world? Adding in race to the mix takes it to a whole new level. Fields states, African America women have been stamped as government assistance users since the 60's and Ronald Reagan in the 80's even used the term "Welfare Queens." Fields also makes the point that African-Americans misbehavior is seen as sinister and intentional and Euro-Americans misbehavior is seen as missteps and mistakes. These views are present in the education systems Fields states but educators still maintain that they are race-blind. In 1996 North Carolina passed sexual education that emphasized " the positive benefits of abstaining from sex" but in conclusion only allows the teaching of abstinence and permits teaching of condoms and forms of contraception. Abstinence-Only viewers over much debate had to admit that abstinence-only teachings denies African-Americans information that could save their lives. "Young people bear much of the weight of Southern Counties racial segregation and economic disadvantage." (Fields, 555) To combat these ideological roles placed on children and stereotypes present in society "Babies Having Babies" and "Children Having Children" was used to explain individual experience not only stereotyped ones. Looking at sexual education free from stereotypes allows the ability to combat the issue of sexual education itself and not racial and economic discrepancies.
Do you think that race should even play a role in the debate of sexual education?
Should religious ideals and viewpoints have a place in our education system? And if so how much of an impact should they play in our public schools?
Very straight to the point question what do you think is the best way to sexually educate youth in our schools?